This document does not promote, condone, or otherwise legitimize piracy. All
Digital Video Discs (DVDs) used herein are legitimate retail copies with copyrights
belonging to the respective authors and associated facilities of creation. The
author of this document and the domain on which it is hosted shall incur no
penalties from mishandling of this document in the extrapolation thereof for
illegal purposes. We at Short-Media insist that this guideline is to be used
with Digital Video Discs (DVDs) that are also legal, retail copies.
DiVX is fine, but you have to pay for it or allow Gator (Hiss) onto your system
should you wish to access the pro features. The pro features are already included
for free on XViD. Furthermore, the pro features are required to produce the
quality that XViD is capable of without them. I've had my fun with DiVX and
it's now obviously poor frame quality and size/quality ratio. DiVX tends to
produce blocky video at bitrates whereas XViD does not. After all this ragging,
you'd think DiVX is the worst thing ever, but it really isn't. DiVX is a quick-and-dirty
solution to produce acceptably small downloads with reasonable viewing quality.
XViD is a codec designed exactly for what we're doing here: making high quality
video in MPEG4 format a reality.
XViD is not without its problems. The MPEG standard in all its video-related
iterations (MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4) belongs to the Motion Picture Engineering Group.
They have it patented and offer licenses for its use. DiVX costs money because
it must pay royalty fees to the MPEG group. XViD (Which is also MPEG4), on the
other hand, is both open-source and free. It manages to hold these qualities
by using the GPL in addition to releasing their codecs only in source code.
XViD.org does not offer pre-compiled binaries of their codecs, so that leaves
you with two options:
1) Compile the source from XViD.org yourself using Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0
with the NASM libraries, MSVC++6 service pack 5, and the DirectX9 SDK libraries.
2) Spend some time on DiVX-Digest or
Filemirrors to acquire a compiled binary
that is dated recently.
If compiling isn't your thing (And I guarantee you it won't be until XViD 1.0
for me), gravitate towards option two. The codec I use is dated for late July,
and it supports many of the latest features, including VHQ and QPel.
This drawback only slightly tarnishes the sparkling virtues that this codec
holds. In comparison to DiVX: Faster encoding times, better quality/size ratio,
and superior picture quality. This tutorial will tell you in a few simple steps
how to produce an extremely high quality XViD movie from a DVD source. The XViD,
when done, will be approximately 720MB for 1:30:00 to 2:15:00 of film, and 1300MB
for 2:16:00 to 4:00:00 of film and it will retain approximately 90% of the quality
the DVD media holds. Comparing this to my DiVX guide, which required quite a
fair bit more space for the same qualities, you can easily see why I now favor
the XViD codec.
XViD Bitrate Calculator
Ripping the DVD (Single movie track discs):
Place the desired DVD in your DVD drive of course, then launch DVD decrypter.
Boxed off in red on any picture in this document are the important sections
of the programs to change, and the topics I will be covering through the guide.
Above are two such boxes. Under the 'Destination' header of the program,
one must select where they wish to put the .VOB files (The video object; your
movie). Please make sure you have ample space! VOB files consume between 4.7
and 9.2GB of space depending on the disc you're working with. It's suggested
you leave 11GB of space open to work with the file you're ripping.
Once you have the destination selected, hit the DVD -> Disk button and come
back in about fifteen minutes. All the proper video files will automatically
be extracted from the DVD, decoded, unencrypted, and supplied in a readable
format. This is the only time you need to work with DVD decrypter.
Ripping the DVD (Multiple movie track discs):
As an example here, I also included Disc Six of The Prisoner DVD collection
to illustrate the ripping process on a DVD with multiple video tracks (In this
case, Volume Six of The Prisoner has two episodes) with DVD decrypter.
In the image above, the input section is set off in a box. This contains the
list of all the video/content files on the disc in lists of tracks (PGC 1 is
track 1, PGC 2 is track 2, etc). Should you have multiple episodes on a disc,
you will have to select each track and export it separately (Here PGC 1 is the
first episode and PGC 2 is the second episode. I can tell because the length
of the tracks coincide with the length of the episodes on this classic series).
In this case, follow the same methods listed above for single video tracks,
but do it as many times as you need to get all the episodes exported.
Once you have the destination selected and the proper video track selected,
hit the DVD -> Disk button and come back in about three to fifteen minutes
(Depending on the size of the tracks and number thereof). All the proper video
files will automatically be extracted from the DVD, decoded, unencrypted, and
supplied in a readable format. This is the only time you need to work with DVD
Here above is The Matrix outputting to my WD1200JB after I clicked the DVD
-> Disk button. As you can see, it says that the DVD is 5.73GB in size. This
will be the largest file you'll have on the disc. Ripping takes about 12-15
minutes. I was playing EverQuest here, so it says 21 minutes instead.
Once the file is extracted from the DVD you're done with it. You can eject
the disc, put it away, and close DVD Decrypter. It's now time to launch DVDx
which is, in my opinion, one of the finest programs out there to convert the
decrypted DVD to codeced formats. To do so, go to File -> Open IFO.
Now navigate to the directory where you extracted the DVD and open the only
.IFO file. This will template the DVD and launch the next window:
The input settings allow you to define the parameters of the video being imported.
In DeCSS, check both boxes. In iDCT, scroll down until you find FPU. Output
frame rate must be 23.976 FPS for an American DVD, 25 FPS for you PAL people.
If an NTSC DVD was made within the last three years, and tells you that the
source media differs from 23.976 FPS, the DVD is encoded funny. Simply check
'Force 24Hz' to remedy this issue. Under audio, make sure to select
High Quality 48kHz to 44.1kHz.
Once you have defined these parameters, click OK and get this error:
Click 'Yes,' and continue.
Now that you have defined the parameters for input so DVDx knows what to do
with the file, it's time to define the output (That is the XViD-encoded AVI)
parameters. Go to Settings -> Output settings like so:
Once this is done, you'll be greeted with the output parameters box:
This is by far the most complex portion of the process: defining the parameters
with which to encode your movie. Step by step, let's define the template as
it applies to the red boxes:
Click the Audio Lame button and change the bitrate to 128 kbps. 192 is unnecessary
for an MP3 file; it just makes your video bigger. If you want to keep 192, your
video quality will suffer VERY slightly. XViD and DiVX both fully support LAME's
MP3/AC3 encoding schemes. Above the 'AVI Specific' header is a drop-down
box that allows you to define the subset of codecs you wish to use. Select AVI.
Within the 'AVI specific' section, directly above the 'Pass 1
settings' and 'Pass 2 settings' buttons is where you select one
of your installed AVI-compatible video codecs; select XViD from this list. In
the 'Volume Don't Exceed' section, change custom size to 'Infinite'
and for 'Max Frame' click the 'Whole' button. Resolution
and zoom settings will be addressed later.
Two pass XViD files are the best. On the first pass, the XViD codec does not
render any footage to disk. The first pass critically analyzes each frame of
footage and does what is called a 'Dummy pass.' A dummy pass is a
fake encoding of a file (similar to a test burn on a CD-RW drive) to give the
codec an idea of how efficiently it can compress the video into your required
size, and what quality it can produce. The dummy pass writes a log file to disk
which is subsequently used by the second pass. The log file defines the parameters
for the intelligent compression schema associated with encoding. It defines
what frames can be compressed and by how much, how to sync the audio, how to
use your rendering effects, etcetera. This log file is crucial. It's the brain
of the operation, and without it (One pass mode) your quality suffers. The second
pass uses said log file to produce the highest quality on each frame in the
size you have asked it to use. Next, check the 'Enable 2nd' box, and
click 'Pass 1 settings.' This will bring up the XViD codec encoding
For the first pass, simply select '2 Pass - 1st Pass' and then hit
the advanced options button. Hitting this button will launch the next window:
The global configuration is the most important aspect of the encoding process.
This is the section in which you define all the necessary parameters that will
affect the quality of your codec. All the settings for the codec should be selected
as displayed. If you wish to pack the highest amount of quality (At extremely
slow encoding speeds), VHQ mode should be set to '4 - Wide Search'
and Quaterpel should be checked. Once this is done you can hit OK, and OK again
to bring you back to DVDx output settings.
Once you are done configuring the 1st pass, click Pass 2 settings. This will
open the box necessary for defining the parameters of your second encoding pass:
Encoding mode should be set at '2 Pass - 2nd Pass Int.' To determine
the desired size, we use our bitrate calculator. Launch XViD BRC.
Calculating the Bitrate:
This is the first screen of our bitrate calculator. Movie length obviously
determines the length of your movie in minutes. Drag the slider out to the length
of the movie, and round off to the nearest minute. The movie size slider determines
the overall size of the movie (With audio), so drag the slider out to the size
you want the entire completed movie to be. In this case, The Matrix is 136 minutes
long and as such, I have determined that a reasonable size is 700mb. Audio streams
should be set to 1, and the audio bitrate is 128. Clicking the resolution tab:
If you're using NTSC DVDs, the width is 720. The height must be determined
by you in regards to the DVD you are using. Your source format is NTSC - 23.976
in the U.S., PAL - 25.000 in some other places (Most notably the United Kingdom).
There is no lock on the aspect ratio. Ignore the fact that it tells you it's
not a good idea. I said it is, and my XViDs are nice. Click back to the first
window and copy the section where it says:
'Video Size: 581556 KByes.'
Close the bitrate calculator and go back to Pass 2 settings in DVDx:
In 'Desired Size (Kbytes)' place the value you had just copied, and
hit advanced options:
Use these settings.
Defining the Resolution of the XViD:
Go to the output settings for DVDx:
In the red box is the necessary information to determine the resolution. The
width, as noted, is always 720 (Unless you're resizing the video which isn't
recommended if you plan to keep it watchable). The height, however is determined
solely by the DVD. Once you select custom, hit apply and flip back to the main
window. Notice that I have taken the green box and moved it from the full 720x480
down to the 720x352 that The Matrix uses. I have pulled the green bar around
the VIDEO ONLY (very important to get the most out of your bitrate, elsewise
the encoder will encode black bands and sap precious video bitrate). You should
now roughly have the video outlined with the green bar like so:
Return to the output settings and input the Width x Height value you have found.
Make sure both values are divisible by 8. As you'll notice, I boxed off 720x356.
356 isn't a multiple of 8, but 352 is, so I rounded down the width to 352.
Here is The Matrix encoding the first few minutes with the lovely Trinity:
- If your video is 1:00:00 to 2:15:00, your video should do well with a 700
or 750 megabyte total size.
- If your video is 2:16:00 to 4:30:00, your video should do well with a 1300
or 1400 megabyte total size.
- QPel increases quality, but encoding speed suffers.
- Mode 4 wide search VHQ increases quality, but encoding speed suffers severely.
*EXTREMELY IMPORTANT* When in 2 pass mode, DVDx requires up
to two hours to analyze the log file that the first pass produces (DVDx calls
it 'Releasing the AVI'). During this time DVDx will NOT respond to
any commands from windows. It will appear as if the program has locked up...Just
leave it alone, it's analyzing. I made the mistake of killing a few hours of
work thinking the program had died a few times. Later I put sense to scenario
and figured it all out.
When you're all done, you should have a XViD rip of your DVD with image quality
that rivals DVD; identical DVD resolution; and excellent sound! All this, and
at only 1/4-1/6th of the space a DVD requires. Should you wish to reduce the
size of the video, you can reduce the resolution, reduce the sound quality,
or reduce the bitrate. Of all of these methods, reducing the sound quality to
92kbps and reducing the resolution to another integer with the same aspect ratio
(The Matrix is 2.04:1, so 720x352 could be reduced to 512x256) are the best
options. Turning down the total video size reduces the bitrate further, but
quality suffers. The choice is yours to weigh. Please await the next installment
where we take a DiVX/XViD AVI and produce an SVCD with it, introducing a few
new and useful programs into your repertoire.